An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Dominic LeBlanc  Liberal

Status

In committee (Senate), as of June 17, 2019

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-88.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 of this enactment amends the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to establish an administration and enforcement scheme in Part 5 of that Act that includes the issuance of development certificates. It also adds an administrative monetary penalty scheme and a cost recovery scheme, provides regulation-making powers for both schemes and for consultation with Aboriginal peoples and it allows the Minister to establish a committee to conduct regional studies. Finally, it repeals a number of provisions of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act that, among other things, restructure the regional panels of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, but that were not brought into force.

Part 2 of the enactment amends the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to prohibit certain works or activities on frontier lands if the Governor in Council considers that it is in the national interest to do so.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 17, 2019 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 11, 2019 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 10, 2019 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
April 9, 2019 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
April 9, 2019 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 11 a.m.
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Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Madam Speaker, as we are hearing from the Liberals, every issue they are having is always somebody else's fault, whether it is Omar Khadr's $10.5-million payment, the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the Prime Minister's disastrous trip to India or the failure to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built, or any pipeline for that matter. It is always somebody else's fault.

However, I will speak to Bill C-88, which, I want to point out for the member opposite, repeals the restructuring of the four land and water boards, which the member opposite said very emphatically that she is against, and reintroduces regulatory provisions that were included in the Conservative government's Bill C-15. I would like to remind this House and the member opposite that when Bill C-15 was debated in the previous Parliament, Liberals, including the Prime Minister, voted in favour of the restructuring.

The current Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, speaking to Conservative Bill C-15 on February 11, 2014, stated, “As Liberals, we want to see the Northwest Territories have the kind of independence it has sought.”

Why does the Liberals' tone change now? Why all of a sudden are they against giving the north the power to control its own destiny and providing jobs, opportunity and wealth to make the north strong again?

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, it is important to note that Bill C-88 is the result of co-operative conciliatory discussions that resulted in an agreement to repeal the restructuring provisions of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. The member is correct when he said the Conservative government did important work when it came to this matter. However, what the member seems to forget is that it tried to go further by restructuring a system that was already working. It put forward measures that would create this concept of superboards, which northerners and the people in the Northwest Territories were opposed to. However, because it was trying to diminish environmental assessments and whatever else, it figured it would sneak a couple of these things in.

Therefore, the Conservative government was taken to court. When it was taken to court, it actually lost that case. This is something that happened not that long ago, and this legislation responds to it. I hope the member understands that because the previous government tried to sneak in a couple of extra points, it was taken to court and lost. It lost in court because that was the wrong thing to do. We are correcting that wrong.

Bill C-88—Time Allocation MotionMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I do not want to say anything, because it feels like the member is offended by anything I comment on or say. I will tell the member that I have not attacked or commented on any individual member of this place. Members choose to do their own work. They represent their constituents no differently from how I represent mine.

What we are debating right now is the use of time allocation to advance Bill C-88. We are using time allocation because we have not been able to find a way forward.

The member needs to be proposed to, it turns out, but he is more than able to provide me insights as to how much time is needed. The previous House leader was able to communicate for her team and provide us a way forward. I know this member has come back into this role. I acknowledge that he is new to this role this time, I guess, and I will definitely do a better job at providing proposals with respect to a way forward. I will take that as feedback from the member.

However, when it comes to this legislation, it will go to committee. The committee will be able to scrutinize and study this legislation, and the amendments will definitely be considered. The minister responsible and members will definitely have their opportunity to debate them. I am sure there will be a fruitful discussion.

I thank the member for his great question.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-88, an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

The bill would make two amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act of 1998, and I will refer to this in my speech going forward as MVRMA. Part A reverses provisions that would have consolidated the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into one. These provisions were introduced by the former Conservative government within Bill C-15, Northwest Territories Devolution Act of 2014.

Part B would amend the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to issue orders, when in the national interest, to prohibit oil and gas activities, and freezes the terms of existing licences to prevent them from expiring during a moratorium.

Bill C-88 is yet another Liberal anti-energy policy in a long list of policies from the government that are driving energy investments out of Canada, costing Canadian workers their jobs and increasing poverty rates in the north.

First, I will speak to part A of the bill, the section that reverses the previous government's initiative to consolidate for the devolution of governance of the Northwest Territories, wherein the federal government transferred control of the territories' land and resources to the Northwest Territories government.

Part of that plan sought to restructure the four Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into a single consolidated superboard, with the intent to streamline regulatory processes and enable responsible resource development. For the reasons why this was proposed under Bill C-15, we have to turn back the clock nearly seven years earlier when, in 2007, then-minister of Indian affairs and northern development, the hon. Chuck Strahl commissioned a report on improving regulatory and environmental assessment regimes in Canada's north.

The consolidation of the Mackenzie Valley land and water boards into one entity was a key recommendation, which would address the complexity and capacity issues by making more efficient use of expenditures and administrative resources, and allow for administrative practices to be understandable and consistent.

Furthermore, during debates in the House in 2013 and 2014, the then-minister of aboriginal affairs and northern development, Bernard Valcourt and the member for Chilliwack—Hope, or as it was known back then, Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, pointed out that the restructured board was included in the final version of the modern land claim agreements.

The proposed changes were not acceptable to everyone, and two indigenous groups, the Tlicho Government and Sahtu Secretariat, filed for an injunction with the Northwest Territories' Supreme Court to suspend the related provisions.

They argued that the federal government did not have the authority to abolish the Mackenzie Valley regulatory regime without consultation with affected indigenous communities. I should point out that, at the time, Liberal members of Parliament voted in favour of Bill C-15 when it was debated in Parliament, including the Prime Minister.

The report commissioned by the then-minister of Indian affairs and northern development was never meant to diminish the influence that indigenous people have on resource management in the north. Rather, it was meant to allow for this influence in a practical way, while at the same time enabling responsible resource development through an effective regulatory system.

This brings us back to today and the bill currently before us. As previously mentioned Bill C-88 would repeal the restructuring of the four land and water boards but also reintroduce regulatory provisions that were included in the previous Conservative government's Bill C-15.

These provisions have been redrafted to function under the current four-board structure and provide for the following: an administrative monetary penalty scheme that will provide inspectors with additional tools to enforce compliance with permits and licences under the MVRMA; an enforceable development certificate scheme following environmental assessments and environmental impact reviews; the development of regulations respecting consultation, which are intended to help clarify the procedural roles and responsibilities respecting indigenous consultation; clarification of requirements for equal proportions of nominees from government and indigenous governments and organizations; a 10-day pause period between a board's preliminary screening decision and the issuance of an authorization to allow for other bodies under the MVRMA to refer a project to an environmental assessment; regional studies that provide the minister with the discretion to appoint committees or individuals to study the effects of existing and future development on a regional basis; the authority to develop cost-recovery regulations that would provide the federal government with the ability to recover costs associated with proceedings; and the extension of a board member's term during a proceeding to ensure board quorum is maintained until the conclusion of an application decision.

These are good regulations and I am glad to see that the current government is continuing on with that and did not throw away these provisions.

The Liberals will say that Bill C-88 is about consultation, however, under part 2 is where the real motivation for Bill C-88 becomes evident.

Part 2 is simply the Liberals' plan to further politicize the regulatory and environmental processes for resource extraction in Canada's north by giving cabinet sweeping powers to stop projects based on its so-called national interest. So much for the comments from the parliamentary secretary to the minister of indigenous and northern affairs, who, on speaking to the Conservatives' Bill C-15 on February 11, 2014, said:

As Liberals, we want to see the Northwest Territories have the kind of independence it has sought. We want it to have the ability to make decisions regarding the environment, resource development, business management, growth, and opportunity, which arise within their own lands.

I would agree with that.

Bill C-88 exposes the Liberals' full rejection of calls from elected territorial leaders for increased control of their natural resources. The Liberals have demonstrated disregard for those who speak truth to power, they have demonstrated contempt for indigenous peoples advocating for the health and welfare of their children and now they are adding indifference for northern Canadians' interests to their long litany of groups marginalized by the Liberal government.

The Conservatives strongly criticized the Liberals for a moratorium on offshore oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea, an announcement made in December 2016, in Washington, D.C. by the prime minister, an announcement, I might add, where territorial leaders were given less than an hour's notice. The Liberal government's top-down maternalistic approach to northerners must end. It does nothing to reduce poverty in remote and northern regions of Canada.

Like Bill C-69, the no-more pipelines bill before it, Bill C-88 politicizes oil and gas extraction by expanding the powers of cabinet to block economic development and adds to the increasing levels of red tape proponents must face before they can get shovels into the ground. Like Bill C-68, the convoluted navigable waters bill before it, Bill C-88 adds ambiguity and massive uncertainty in an already turbulent investment climate. Like Bill C-48, the tanker ban bill before it, Bill C-88 aims to kill high-quality, high-paying jobs for Canadians and their families who work in the oil and gas-related industries.

We know the Prime Minister's real motivation. He spelled it out for us at a Peterborough, Ontario town hall in January 2017, when he clearly stated that he and his government needed to phase out the oil and gas industry in Canada. The Prime Minister's plan to phase out the energy industry has been carried out with surgical precision to date.

The Liberals' job-killing carbon tax is already costing Canadian jobs. Companies repeatedly mention that the carbon tax is the reason they are investing in jobs and projects in the United States over Canada. The Liberals new methane regulations could end refining in Canada by adding tens of billions of dollars of cost to an industry that is already in crisis.

The Liberals introduced their interim review process for oil and gas projects in January 2016, which killed energy east, the 15,000 middle-class jobs it would have created and the nearly $55 billion it would have injected into the New Brunswick and Canadian economies, a review process which delayed the Trans Mountain expansion reviews by six months and added upstream admissions to the review process.

The Liberal cabinet imposed a B.C. north shore tanker ban within months of forming government, with no consultation or scientific evidence to support it. The Liberals cancelled the oil and gas exploration drilling tax credits during a major downturn in the oil and gas sector, which caused the complete collapse of drilling in Canada. The Liberals' proposed fuel standard will equate to a carbon tax of $228 per tonne of fuel according to their own analysis.

When the Prime Minister vetoed the northern gateway pipeline, he killed benefit agreements between the project and 31 first nations, worth about $2 billion. The unprecedented policy will apply not to just transportation fuels but to all industries, including steel production, heating for commercial buildings and home heating fuels like natural gas.

All this is destroying energy jobs and investment from coast to coast to coast. Now, with Bill C-88, we add another coast, the northern coast.

The Liberals love to champion the Prime Minister's personal commitment to a new relationship with indigenous people through new disclosure and friendly policies. They will, no doubt, due so again with Bill C-88.

This is what some organizations and people have to say, with respect to the Prime Minister's so-called commitment:

Stephen Buffalo, the president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, in the National Post, October 19, 2018 stated:

...the government of Canada appears to consult primarily with people and organizations that share its views...It pays much less attention to other Indigenous groups, equally concerned about environmental sustainability, who seek a more balanced approach to resource development.

Here is another quote from that article:

The policies of the [Prime Minister's] government are systematically constraining the freedom and economic opportunities of the oil- and gas-producing Indigenous peoples of Canada. We are not asking for more from government. We are actually asking for less government intervention

Roy Fox, chief of the Kainaiwa first nation, in The Globe and Mail, December 10, 2018 stated:

While the Kainaiwa [nation] continue to fight against high unemployment, as well as the social destructiveness and health challenges such as addiction and other issues that often accompany poverty, my band’s royalties have recently been cut by more than half. Furthermore, all drilling has been cancelled because of high price differentials – the enormous gap between what we get on a barrel of oil in comparison to the benchmark price – which has limited employment opportunities on our lands.

Chief Fox continued:

...it’d be an understatement to say the policies proposed within Bills C-69 and C-48 are damaging our position by restricting access and reducing our ability to survive as a community....I and the majority of Treaty 7 chiefs strongly oppose the bill for its likely devastating impact on our ability to support our community members, as it would make it virtually impossible for my nation to fully benefit from the development of our energy resources.

I can continue to read quotes. However, we here on this side of the aisle are deeply disappointed that the Prime Minister, who campaigned on a promise of reconciliation with indigenous communities, blatantly would allow and choose to deny our 31 first nations and Métis communities their constitutionally-protected right to economic development.

This is from the Aboriginal Equity Partners:

We see today's announcement as evidence of the government's unwillingness to follow through on the Prime Minister's promise.

The Government of Canada could have demonstrated its commitment by working with us as environmental stewards of the land and water to enhance marine safety. All 31 AEP plus the other affected communities should have been consulted directly and individually in order to meet the Federal Government's duty to consult.

I have said this many times in my speech. It is time to stop politicizing these projects. Bill C-88 politicizes oil and gas development in the far north by providing the cabinet in Ottawa the unilateral power to shut down oil and gas development without consulting the people it affects directly.

I want to point to a few “key facts” from NRCAN's website. It states that in 2017, Canada’s energy sector directly employed more than 276,000 people and indirectly supported over 624,000 jobs; Canada’s energy sector accounts for almost 11% of nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP); government revenues from energy were $10.3 billion in 2016; more than $650 million was spent on energy research, development, and deployment by governments in 2016-17; and Canada is the sixth largest energy producer, the fifth largest net exporter, and the eighth largest consumer

Just last week, in The Globe and Mail, David McKay, the president and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, stated:

History has placed Canada at a crossroads. No other country of 37 million people has access to more natural resources – and the brainpower to convert those resources into sustainable growth for a stronger society.

And yet, Canada is at risk of taking the wrong turn at the crossroads because some believe there are only two paths: one for economic growth, and the other for environment.

We’re seeing this dilemma play out in Canada’s energy transition as we struggle to reconcile competing ideas.

We aspire to help the world meet its energy needs and move to ever-cleaner fuel sources. We aim to reduce our carbon footprint. We want Indigenous reconciliation and long-term partnership. And we hope to maintain the standard of living we have come to enjoy.

But without a balanced approach to harnessing our energy future, all of this is at risk.

We need to take a third path--one that will help us develop our natural resources, invest in clean technologies and ensure a prosperous Canada....

But we’re reaching a critical time in our country’s history.

As our resources sector copes with a growing crisis, we worry that Canada is not setting up our energy industry for growth and success in a changing world.

When I travel abroad, and proudly talk up our country, too many investors tell me they feel Canada's door is closed when it comes to energy. We need to change that impression immediately, because these investors are backing up their words with action.

According to a recent study from the C.D. Howe Institute, Canada has lost $100-billion in potential investment in oil and gas in the past two years.

We can’t forget that energy is not only part of the economic fabric of Canada, it also funds our social needs. The sector has contributed $90-billion to government revenues over the past five years, which covers about 10 per cent of what the country spends on health care, according to RBC Economics.

And if we squander our huge advantage and cede the dividends to other countries, we’ll also risk losing the opportunity to help combat the most daunting challenge of all – climate change.

The article ends with the following charge to government:

We can’t stay at a crossroads.

It’s time for Canada to pull together on a plan – one that re-energizes our place in the world.

The Conservatives have long viewed the north as a key driver of economic activity for Canada for decades to come. The Liberals, however, view the north as a place to create huge swaths of protected land and shut down economic activity.

Bill C-88 appears to be based in a desire to win votes in major urban centres rather than reduce poverty in remote regions of Canada. Northerners face the unique challenges of living in the north with resilience and fortitude. They want to create jobs and economic opportunities for their families. They deserve a government that has their backs.

We are at a crossroads and it is time for Canada to pull together a plan. The Conservatives are up to that challenge. We look forward to unveiling our plan and growing the economy in the next election for voters to decide for themselves who really has the best interests of Canadians.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, one of the important aspects of Bill C-88 is that it would restore the four water and land co-management boards, which were established by a negotiated agreement between the federal and territorial governments and the first nations of the north, but the Tlicho and Sahtu people went to court and had that bill struck down.

What is important and significant is that the land claim and self-government agreements are now modern treaties entrenched in the Constitution.

Could the member tell us how his party rationalizes arguing against the Constitution of Canada in saying that the boards should not be restored?

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree that Bill C-88 is yet another anti-energy policy from the government. It is driving investment out of Canada. It is taking potential opportunities away from those in the north who want a path forward, a path to prosperity by harnessing resources in a very responsible manner, something in which Canada is a world leader. If people in the north are asking for more power to define their future, to create their own path, that is something we should be doing, rather than having an Ottawa-knows-best approach.

I was at the AME Roundup in Vancouver a few months ago. It is a very large mining conference, although not as big as PDAC in Toronto. When we spoke with people in the north, that was the number one issue they were talking about. These were not mining people from big companies; they were juniors, start-ups, people in the middle, all talking about the fact that there is great potential in the north for responsible resource development, but they do not feel that making the north a park, basically, is a way to do that or to create jobs, wealth and opportunity.

We should be listening to those people.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:20 p.m.
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Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time this afternoon with the member for Winnipeg Centre, but first let me acknowledge that we are here on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people.

I stand in support of Bill C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

The proposed legislation now before us would modernize the regulatory regime that governs resource development in the Northwest Territories.

The central goal of Canada's approach to regulating resource development in the north has been to realize a project's full potential value while minimizing and mitigating any negative environmental, social and economic impacts. To achieve this goal, regulatory regimes across Canada include measures to assess proposed projects and to track the progress and performance of approved projects.

Environmental impact is a key consideration throughout all phases. In general, and particularly in the north, environmental impact is defined as any effect on land, water, air or any other component of the environment, as well as on wildlife harvesting.

The assessment includes any effect on the social and cultural environment or on heritage resources.

The northern regime has long been ahead of the southern environmental assessment regime in this respect. In the north, regulatory regimes are notably different from those in the rest of Canada, for several reasons. The most significant reason is that many northern indigenous people have concluded land claim agreements with the Government of Canada, and these agreements have created a robust system through which indigenous governments have a meaningful role in processes to review and license proposed resource development projects, have representation on boards, and have a strong voice in the process from the beginning to the end. This is reconciliation in action.

The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act is part of the legal framework for resource development in the north. The act authorizes a unique regulatory regime that references a series of comprehensive land claim and self-government agreements with indigenous groups, including the Gwich'in, Sahtu Dene and Tlicho.

The regime features an integrated and coordinated system of boards and ensures indigenous representation. The result is co-management. The Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories and indigenous governments all participate in reviews of and final decisions about proposed projects.

In recent decades, the north has experienced unprecedented change, and the pace of change continues to accelerate. Territorial governments have acquired new authorities under devolution, for example, and diamond mining has generated billions of dollars in revenues and created thousands of jobs. As well, the impacts of climate change have been greater in the north and have accelerated more quickly there than anywhere else in the world. Given these realities, the regulatory regime governing resource development in the north must evolve to keep pace, and this is the main impetus for Bill C-88.

About eight years ago, the Government of Canada began a process to modernize the regulatory regime at the same time as it moved to devolve greater authorities to the Northwest Territories. In 2014, Canada enacted the Northwest Territories Devolution Act. Along with authorizing devolution, this act also made important changes to the regulatory regime. One of these changes was the amalgamation of four existing boards into a single entity, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

Almost immediately, the Tlicho government and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated launched court actions against Canada. The lawsuits claimed that amalgamation violated land claim agreements. The Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories granted an injunction, which effectively halted amalgamation and prevented the implementation of several elements of the regulatory regime. Bill C-88 proposes to repeal amalgamation, which would resolve the litigation and support Canada's commitment to reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Bill C-88 would also authorize a series of policy elements that the court injunction also blocked. These elements include development certificates and an enforcement scheme for part 5 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. They also include regional studies, extensions of the terms of board members, regulation-making authorities related to consultations, a 10-day pause in the environmental impact assessment process, and a requirement to give proper notice of government inspections of Gwich'in- and Sahtu-owned land.

Together the changes proposed in the legislation now before us would significantly strengthen the regulatory regime in the north. They would ensure that the assessment of environmental impacts would remain paramount in both the review of proposed projects and the monitoring of approved projects. The changes would also ensure that any contravention of a regulation could result in a stiff penalty, such as a large fine, and possibly, incarceration. Bill C-88 would also ensure that indigenous governments would continue to participate meaningfully in reviews of and decisions about development projects in the north.

Another aspect of Bill C-88 aims to further strengthen environmental protection in the Arctic through the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. As my hon. colleagues can appreciate, Canada's Arctic features some of the most fragile ecosystems in the world. Two years ago, the Prime Minister committed to stepping up Canada's efforts to protect Arctic ecosystems. In particular, he called for a ban on any new Arctic offshore resource exploration and extraction. Rather than set a deadline for the moratorium, the Government of Canada committed to reviewing it every five years. The review will focus on an assessment of the latest climate and marine sciences.

Along with imposing a moratorium, the Government of Canada began a series of consultations with territorial and northern indigenous governments and the holders of offshore oil and gas rights in Arctic waters to discuss their interests. A central focus of these consultations was how best to balance environmental and economic concerns and how to protect the offshore environment while pursuing safe, responsible activities that create jobs and economic opportunities in northern indigenous economies. The result of these consultations are the proposed amendments before us in Bill C-88.

First, to complement the moratorium on new licences, the amendments would allow the Government of Canada to ban any oil and gas exploration or development activities under 11 existing exploration and significant discovery licences in the Beaufort Sea.

The amendments would also fix a problem that came to light regarding the plan for a science-based review every five years. Some oil and gas rights in the Arctic offshore will begin to expire before the completion of the next review period. With a ban on activity in the Arctic offshore, these rights suddenly lost all their value. The discussions identified a solution, that being a freeze on the terms of existing rights for the duration of the moratorium. Bill C-88 would authorize this solution.

Canada's regulatory regime is among the best in the world, because it continually seeks to strike an appropriate balance between economic, environmental and social concerns. Key to this ability is the careful and thorough assessment of potential project impacts. An effective regulatory regime makes it possible to foster both economic activity and environmental protection.

The legislation now before us aims to achieve this goal in the north, and I urge my hon. colleagues to endorse Bill C-88 at second reading.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am always happy to talk about the priorities of this government, those priorities being helping middle-class Canadians and growing the Canadian economy; lifting thousands of Canadians out of poverty; fighting climate change in a meaningful way; and advancing the most important relationship for this government, that being the relationship with indigenous peoples.

Every time we have brought forth measures to grow the economy and support middle-class Canadians, the Conservatives have opposed them. Every time we have brought forth measures to help lift 825,000 Canadians out of poverty, the Conservatives have opposed them.

We have a plan to fight climate change. What do the Conservatives have? They have an unsolicited, unethical mass texting campaign. That is not a climate change plan.

Every time we bring forward investments and measures to advance reconciliation in this country, including in Bill C-88, the Conservatives oppose them.

Our priorities, our plan and our results are clear to Canadians. Why do the Conservatives continue to oppose them?

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Niwakoma cuntik Tansai Nemeaytane Atawapamtikok.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to express my support for Bill C-88. I also acknowledge that we are here on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

This important bill proposes to improve the regulatory regime that governs resource development in the Northwest Territories. Equally important, in my view, is the contribution Bill C-88 would make to reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

Throughout much of this country's history, indigenous peoples have been actively prevented from contributing fully to and benefiting equally from the social and economic prosperity that so many of us take for granted. Reconciliation and a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples will help create the conditions needed to close the socio-economic gap that persists between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.

Today we have an opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past and to unlock economic growth for indigenous peoples and all Canadians. We have a chance to create an environment that supports self-determination. This will not only be good for indigenous peoples but will be good for all of Canada.

The National Indigenous Economic Development Board has estimated that engaging indigenous people in the economy at the same rate as non-indigenous people would boost Canada's GDP by 1.5% and create almost $28 billion in economic growth. Several others have suggested that the number is actually much higher.

Reconciliation is a multi-faceted undertaking that ultimately must involve and engage all people in Canada, indigenous and non-indigenous alike. At the personal level, it involves confronting and erasing all prejudice, embracing fresh ideas and throwing out those racist ideas of the past. For the Government of Canada, it involves sweeping changes to legislation, policies and how we approach policy.

Allow me to quote the Prime Minister's description of the challenge facing Canada. He stated:

Reconciliation calls upon us all to confront our past and commit to charting a brighter, more inclusive future. We must acknowledge that centuries of colonial practices have denied the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples. The recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights will chart a new way forward for our Government to work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples and to undo decades of mistrust, poverty, broken promises, and injustices.

The legislation now before us would support reconciliation in a clear and unequivocal way by re-establishing the land and water boards in a manner requested by indigenous communities themselves. The boards would enable three indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories, the Gwich'in, the Sahtu and the Tlicho, to influence resource development in their traditional territories in a direct and meaningful way.

Four years ago, Parliament endorsed legislation to restructure the regulatory regime governing resource development in the Northwest Territories. Part of this plan involved the amalgamation of four boards into a single entity, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

Soon after the plan became law, the Tlicho Government and the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated launched court actions against the Government of Canada. Both indigenous governments challenged Canada's authority to unilaterally eliminate boards that had been legally authorized years earlier. A 1992 comprehensive land claims agreement had established the Gwich'in Land and Water Board, which was given effect by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act in 1998, for instance. In 2003, the Tlicho land claims and self-government agreement had authorized the creation of the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board.

The court challenges effectively put a halt to some of the restructuring measures included in the 2014 legislation under the Harper regime. The new Government of Canada agreed to work in co-operation with northern indigenous communities, including the plaintiffs in the court actions, to resolve the impasse and to restructure the regulatory regime in a way that would meet the needs of all concerned.

Representatives of indigenous groups, the Government of Northwest Territories and industry met with federal officials. The meetings inspired the Government of Canada to draft a legislative proposal and to share the draft with all interested parties.

This collaborative effort not only exemplifies the spirit of reconciliation but also illustrates reconciliation in action. It is “reconciliaction”, and it abides by the principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples established last year. For instance, principle 1 states, “The Government of Canada recognizes that all relations with Indigenous peoples need to be based on the recognition and implementation of their right to self-determination, including the inherent right of self-government.”

Principle 5 states, “The Government of Canada recognizes that treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements between Indigenous peoples and the Crown have been and are intended to be acts of reconciliation based on mutual recognition and respect.”

Following this approach soon produced a negotiated solution. We sat down and we negotiated. It is a solution articulated today in Bill C-88. However, to fully appreciate the value of the solution requires an understanding of how it came into being. This was not a case of the Government of Canada imposing its will on others. In fact, the bill before us incorporates the suggestions made by the negotiators representing other groups, including indigenous governments. They were central to this.

One change to the original draft legislation proposal relates to court jurisdiction for judicial reviews of administrative monetary penalties imposed under the regulatory regime. The change ensures consistency with exclusive jurisdiction of the Northwest Territories' Supreme Court under section 32 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. A second modification to the original draft legislation aims to ensure consistency with comprehensive land claims agreements. New language was added to clarify consultation obligations related to administrative monetary penalties.

Is it not exciting to talk about administrative monetary penalties? These changes came about because the parties negotiated as equals in an atmosphere of mutual respect and mutual recognition of rights and responsibilities.

Should Bill C-88 become law, if it can make its way through this Parliament, its effects would also foster reconciliation. This is because co-management is central to the regulatory regime envisioned in the legislation now before us. Boards comprised of members nominated by northern indigenous governments and the governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada would render decisions about proposed development projects. Board decisions are legally binding on all parties, including developers. This means that northern indigenous governments would be fully able to exercise their right to self-determination.

The onus has long been on indigenous peoples to prove that their rights exist. For too long, indigenous communities have had to fight to exercise their rights. This is why reconciliation absolutely requires the Government of Canada, on behalf of all Canadians, to base all of its relations with indigenous peoples on the recognition and the implementation of existing rights.

On one level, Bill C-88 would repeal the amalgamation of land and water boards in the Northwest Territories. It would also modernize the regulatory regime governing resource development in the region. On a higher level, Bill C-88 would foster reconciliation with indigenous peoples across Canada. It would demonstrate to indigenous communities across the country that the Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation.

Hon. members of this chamber, the people's House, have an opportunity to show their commitment to reconciliation, and I encourage all of them to join me in supporting Bill C-88.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that all indigenous governments were involved in negotiating this agreement with Bill C-88, as well as the Northwest Territories government. It has the support of all of these governments because they will be at the table.

Obviously, governments can take actions to try to negate the rights of indigenous peoples. It depends on the government of the day. However, I know that the inherent policy of this government is to work with indigenous peoples. It is not to negate their rights, but to work with them in a collaborative approach.

Perhaps future governments of Canada will move forward in a different manner and try to negate those rights. However, I know that our government is committed to working with indigenous peoples.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the words of the hon. member on the other side about the need for new measures to show that the government is sincere about reconciliation and about honouring the rights and interests of indigenous peoples.

Surely, then, the member would support the amendment we are calling for, to actually entrench the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the bill. Of course that would deliver on the Prime Minister's promise, from quite some time ago, that he would in fact take action on all 93 of the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. One of those calls to action is exactly that. It is to move forward and entrench those rights in the UN declaration in all federal laws going forward.

Is the member willing to accept that amendment and entrench the United Nations declaration in Bill C-88?

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:50 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to join the debate on Bill C-88.

I would like to tell my friend from Winnipeg Centre that I certainly support the bill. I worked in the House along with the former member for Northwest Territories, Dennis Bevington, who was mentioned earlier in debate, and we miss his voice here, to try to stop the changes that were made in 2014.

I think returning to the status quo, while laudable, is not as good as taking a step forward while we have the chance. Would the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre reconsider? The bill is certainly consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but the bill does not commit Canada to exercise its rights in respect of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the hon. member.

This is giving life to UNDRIP in an actual bill before Parliament, Bill C-88. It ensures that UNDRIP is fully respected. UNDRIP, in Bill C-262, is a document that governs all of the Canadian government, ensuring all policies and laws come into accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and also with an annual report. I remember putting forward a private member's bill of my own that would require reporting to the House of Commons on an annual basis.

Nonetheless, I still believe that the bill is a good way forward. It was negotiated in full accordance with all the indigenous peoples concerned by the bill. That is what we call respect. That is what we call self-determination: sitting down, having a conversation, talking. That is how we make treaties.

The difficult part will come in the future when we need to make sure that these treaties are respected. That involves the government of the day and making sure that we have a good government that will respect those rights into the future.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-88, another Liberal anti-resource development policy that is driving investment and businesses out of Canada, costing Canadian workers their jobs, costing indigenous people jobs and undermining their aspirations, work and their hopes for self-sufficiency, and increasing poverty rates in the north and in rural and remote regions.

Like the Liberals' no more pipelines Bill C-69, their Arctic offshore drilling ban, and their oil shipping ban bills, Bill C-48 and Bill C-86, Bill C-88 would further politicize resource development by expanding the powers of the cabinet to unilaterally block economic development and would add to the mountain of red tape proponents must overcome before they can get shovels in the ground.

The bill is also a full rejection of calls from elected territorial leaders for increased control over the development of natural resources in their territories and would cede more power and control to the federal government. Bill C-88 would reverse Conservative measures to devolve power to the territories and puts new powers in the hands of the federal cabinet. The Liberals clearly believe that Ottawa knows best.

At the AME Roundup in Vancouver in January, I was in a room full of northerners who were unanimous in their opposition to the Liberal government's “one big park” agenda for the north. There were elected officials, Inuit business leaders and corporate executives with decades of experience working with first nations in resource development in the north.

In Canada, it can take 20 years to get from the discovery of a mineral deposit to a functioning mine. The challenge in the north is that most of the mines are in the final decade of production and no new mines are in the approvals process. Resource projects and communities and residents in the north have to overcome big challenges: geography, climate, distance, access to land and a lack of services and infrastructure in the many remote and rural regions in which these projects are located. The north will pay for the Liberals' mistakes with the loss of an entire generation's economic advancement as mining completely leaves the region.

The previous Conservative government rightly viewed the north as essential to Canada's sovereignty, as a key area at stake in global security and as a place of real potential for significant economic activities today and for decades to come. Conservatives know resource development is often the only source of jobs and business potential in remote and northern regions where they are already scarce.

The Liberals meanwhile are arbitrarily creating huge swaths of protected land with little consultation. The regulatory uncertainty caused by their many bills and policies is making capital harder to access. These actions are challenging meaningful engagement and relationships with first nations in the north, including the Inuit, indigenous people and Métis communities. The Liberals' top-down paternalistic actions rob northerners of opportunities and of decision-making authority and do nothing to reduce poverty in remote northern regions of Canada.

Conservatives, by contrast, have sought to devolve power over and ownership of natural resources to the territories, enabling and empowering their abilities and their authority to manage and benefit from their rich and diverse natural resource opportunities.

In 2007, Neil McCrank was commissioned to write a report on improving the regulatory and environmental assessment regimes in Canada's north. That report, “Road to Improvement”, found the regulatory process in the Northwest Territories at the time was complex, costly, unpredictable and time-consuming. The merging of the three boards into one was a key recommendation. The report said that this approach would address the complexity and the capacity issues inherent to the current model by making more efficient use of expenditures and administrative resources.

Importantly, the report also said that this was not meant to diminish or reduce the influence that aboriginal people have on resource management in the north; rather, it was meant as an attempt to allow for this influence in a practical way, while at the same time enabling responsible resource development.

The option to merge the three separate indigenous boards into the single unified board was also included as an available option in the three modern land claim agreements signed with the first nations in the Northwest Territories.

In 2013, the previous Conservative government introduced Bill C-15 to implement that approach. That bill received overwhelming support in the House. We would not know it from the heckling across the aisle, but including from the Liberal Party. The Liberals and the NDP voted for the bill at the final stage in the House of Commons, but now the Liberals have decided to reverse it, to return to the job-killing overly complex and disjointed “Ottawa knows best” approach, setting back the hopes and aspirations of northern communities that are desperate for natural resource jobs.

It is a myth that indigenous communities, particularly in the north, are opposed to natural resource development. This myth is perpetuated by the Liberal left and elected politicians even in this House of Commons. Indigenous leaders are speaking out against anti-resource activists and in favour of the many benefits and potential for their communities. Bob McLeod, premier of the Northwest Territories, said:

All too often...[indigenous people] are only valued as responsible stewards of their land if they choose not to touch it. This is eco-colonialism.

He went on to say:

...it is oppressive and irresponsible to assume that Indigenous northerners do not support resource development.

PJ Akeeagok of Qikiqtani Inuit Association said, “Absolutely we want to participate in these industries. There’s some real exciting benefits that are out there.” Lee Qammaniq, a heavy equipment operator at Baffinland's Mary River mine, says, “I'm doing it so [my son] can have a better life.”

That ideological and heavy-handed “one big park” agenda in the north is being implemented often without consulting northerners on the use of the land around them. It is threatening the way of life of many Inuit and indigenous communities.

A little farther south, Isaac Laboucan-Avirom, chief of the Woodland Cree First Nation, says:

It frustrates me, as a first nations individual, when I have to almost beg for monies when we're living in one of the most resource-rich countries in the world. Why should our people be living in third-class or second-class communities when we are surrounded by natural resources that go into paving our roads, putting in rec centres, and so on?

In northern Saskatchewan, English River chief Marie Black, speaks about mining for many across the country in her direct assessment, saying, “It is very, very important that we go ahead and work with industry. This is for jobs.”

So many indigenous leaders are speaking out. They are leading the fight, really, about the importance of resource development to their communities to meet their needs right now and for future generations. They are fighting against the layers of Liberal anti-resource development policies and laws that violate their abilities to make decisions about their resources on and around their lands and about which they were not consulted by the Liberals in the first place.

Indigenous communities support sustainable and responsible natural resources development in their territories because it offers a real path to self-sufficiency and a real opportunity for actual economic reconciliation. It damages reconciliation when politicians make promises they do not keep, set expectations and then do not deliver, or pass laws in the apparent best interests of indigenous Canadians without actually fully consulting them.

There is no stronger example of the patriarchal, patronizing and quite frankly colonial approach of the current Liberals than their treatment of first nations who want to develop, provide services, and supply and transport oil and gas. When this Liberal Prime Minister vetoed the northern gateway pipeline, he killed benefit agreements between the project and 31 first nations that were worth $2 billion. Those 31 first nations said:

We are deeply disappointed that a Prime Minister who campaigned on a promise of reconciliation with Indigenous communities would now blatantly choose to deny our 31 First Nations and Métis communities of our constitutionally protected right to economic development.

The Liberals' shipping ban, Bill C-48, is opposed by more than 30 first nations in B.C. and in Alberta because it would kill economic opportunities for their communities. Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom says, “What I don't understand about this tanker moratorium is that there's no other tanker moratorium on other coastlines in Canada. You have oil coming in from Saudi Arabia, up and down the St. Lawrence River right now.”

Gary Alexcee, deputy chief of Eagle Spirit Energy Holding Ltd., said:

With no consultation, the B.C. first nations groups have been cut off economically with no opportunity to even sit down with the government to further negotiate Bill C-48. If that's going to be passed, then I would say we might as well throw up our hands and let the government come and put blankets on us that are infected with smallpox so we can go away. That's what this bill means to us.

He went on to say:

Today, the way it sits, we have nothing but handouts that are not even enough to have the future growth of first nations in our communities of British Columbia.

Then, there is the targeted northern offshore drilling ban, incredibly announced in southern Canada by this Prime Minister without any real consultation with the most directly impacted indigenous communities, their elected leaders or indigenous-owned businesses.

Duane Smith, chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, says:

We are sitting on nine trillion cubic feet of gas and it doesn't make sense for the community to truck in its energy source from 2,000 kilometres away when we should be developing these.

Northwest Territories premier, Bob McLeod, said, “It feels like a step backward.” He went on:

We spent a lot of time negotiating a devolution agreement, and we thought the days were gone when we'd have unilateral decisions made about the North in some faraway place like Ottawa, and that northerners would be making the decisions about issues that affected northerners.

He confirmed that this Prime Minister only informed him about the decision two hours before he made the announcement.

Nunavut's former premier, Peter Taptuna, has said, “We have been promised by Ottawa that they would consult and make decisions based on meaningful discussion. So far that hasn't happened.”

Even Liberal Yukon Premier Sandy Silver, whose territory is not affected by the bans, sided with his northern counterparts, saying, “When you have unilateral decisions being made in any topic on considerations that affect the North, you need to have northerners in those conversations.”

There was also, of course, the announcement made in Washington, D.C. that a large portion of Canada's territories will be prohibited from development, again with minimal or no consultation with actual northerners.

The mayor of Tuktoyaktuk recently said at a House of Commons committee:

We're proud people who like to work for a living. We're not used to getting social assistance and that kind of stuff. Now we're getting tourists coming up, but that's small change compared to when you work in oil and gas and you're used to that kind of living. Our people are used to that. We're not used to selling trinkets and T-shirts and that kind of stuff.

He specifically took issue with matters addressed by the bill, saying, “the Liberals should be helping us. They shut down our offshore gasification and put a moratorium right across the whole freaking Arctic without even consulting us. They never said a word to us.”

The Liberal approach to the north is not empowering first nations. It is trapping the Inuit and indigenous people of the north in poverty by blocking their best opportunities for jobs, for government revenues and for social services to deal with all the needs that colleagues here are raising in this debate, for healthy living and to help make life more affordable.

Northerners know that Bill C-88 would add another roadblock to resource development on top of the Liberals' “no more pipelines” Bill C-69.

While co-management of the assessment process limits some of the damage of Bill C-69, this legislation would still have a significant impact on resource development in the north. Whether it is changes to the navigable waters act, falling investment dollars in natural resource projects across Canada or limited essential services, equipment and expertise to develop projects in the north, this flawed legislation would damage the north.

Dozens of indigenous communities, along with the National Coalition of Chiefs, the Indian Resource Council, the Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council, Alberta's Assembly of Treaty Chiefs and the majority of Treaty 7 first nations, as well as hundreds of indigenous companies, are joining premiers and industry leaders in opposing Bill C-69.

Experts in indigenous law and rights are clear. Bill C-69 does nothing concrete to improve indigenous consultation, either by expanding the scope of indigenous rights or by practically increasing the measures, expectations and standards for the Crown's duty to consult. In fact, it actually weakens indigenous voices in the assessment process by removing the standing test and opening up project reviews to literally anyone, anywhere, instead of focusing on input from locally impacted Canadian citizens, indigenous communities, and subject matter and technical experts.

Mark Wittrup, vice-president of environmental and regulatory affairs at Clifton Associates, has said, “The proposed [impact assessment] process will create significant delays, missed opportunities and likely impact those that need that economic development the most: northern and Indigenous communities.”

Indigenous leaders have also noticed. Roy Fox, chief of the Blood Tribe first nation and a former CEO of the Indian Resource Council, has said, “I don't have any confidence in Bill C-69. I am fearful, and I am confident, that it will keep my people in poverty.”

Stephen Buffalo, the president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council, which currently represents more than 100 indigenous oil and gas developers, has said, “Indigenous communities are on the verge of a major economic breakthrough, one that finally allows Indigenous people to share in Canada's economic prosperity. Bill C-69 will stop this progress in its tracks.”

The more than 30 first nations in the Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council say they will take the government to court over C-69, because the bill could make it “impossible to complete a project” and because the removal of the standing test could lead to foreign interests “overriding the interests of aboriginal title holders” in Canada.

Bill C-88 is yet another example of the Liberals' pattern of adding red tape and roadblocks to resource development, which is something a Conservative government will reverse to help northern indigenous communities, all northerners and all Canadians get ahead.

The future of mining in Canada is very much related to opening up the north. Conservatives know how crucial infrastructure is to this ambition, as it can cost up to six times more to explore, and two and a half times more to build mines in remote regions. The Liberal-imposed carbon tax will hike the already expensive cost of living and cost of operations in the north even higher.

The Conservative Party has long believed that this means giving northerners the autonomy to make decisions based on their priorities and to benefit from those decisions the same way the provinces do.

In natural resources, mining is one of the areas where first nations are the most active, having secured 455 agreements in the sector between 2000 and 2017, often including priority training, hiring and subcontracting commitments. In 2016, indigenous people working in the mining sector had a median income twice as high as workers in their communities overall and nearly twice as high as that of non-indigenous people as a whole.

The problem is that mines are currently in the later years of their productive life, and there are no new mines in the approvals process. By reverting to the old, convoluted impact assessment and approvals process, the Liberals are reintroducing a major barrier to proposing and then actually completing projects in the Northwest Territories. Therefore, as I said before, the north will pay for Liberal mistakes with the loss of an entire generation's economic advancement as mining completely leaves the north.

However, there is hope. Conservatives will work to cut unnecessary red tape to bring investment and jobs back to Canada, while maintaining, enhancing and protecting Canada's reputation. Our reputation is second to none as a global leader in environmental standards, performance, and community and indigenous consultation for responsible resource development.

Conservatives know the reality is that when a resource project gets shut down in Canada, the most regulated and environmentally responsible major resource producer in the world, all it means is that the money, the businesses and the jobs go to countries with lower environmental, civil and human rights protections and standards.

The world needs more Canadian resource development, not less of it. Canada can and must still protect the environment while getting to a “yes” on major projects. When approval is given, the projects must be able to get built. Instead of turning the north into one big park, the Liberals should listen to northern first nations and hear their call for empowerment to develop their natural resources in a responsible and sustainable way.

This bill represents a major regression in the ability of northerners to manage their own natural resources to the benefit of their communities and in the best interests of the entire country. This legislation is yet another example of the Liberal government believing it knows better than local communities, indigenous communities, regions and provinces, resource developers and private sector proponents.

Conservatives will work to reverse these damaging legislative changes, eliminate the roadblocks that the Liberals are putting in the path of northern resource projects and of indigenous communities, and help northern Canadians and all Canadians get ahead.

Second ReadingMackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2019 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are challenging this piece of legislation because in part 2 it gives unprecedented and unilateral power to the federal cabinet to do exactly the opposite of what the member is talking about, by completely unilaterally blocking and banning economic oil and gas development in these territories.

This is the challenge of the Liberals, who constantly say they believe a bunch of things and are putting forward this suite of policies and different legislation. They are probably well intentioned, but the outcome, consequences and the way it actually works defeat the very objectives they said they stood for in the first place.

That is the same with Bill C-88. Members cannot really, in good conscience, stand up here and pretend that this legislation gives further authority to indigenous communities in the north and to territorial leaders, while right in the legislation is an unprecedented granting of power to the federal cabinet to make unilateral decisions that will destroy economic development in those regions.